Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gluten-free Vegan Apple Cake

It's the season for apples and this is the time of year when I crave my grandma's Lithuanian Apple Cake, which was a staple of childhood.  It was moist, sweet and brown sugary, with a hint of crispness to the crust.  Nothing fancy, but somehow oh so good. 


Since I can't eat wheat for health reasons, it was my mission to create not only a vegan version of this cake, but also one that was gluten-free.  I never had my grandma's original recipe (she never wrote these things down either!), so I've had to work from memory.  I've tweaked it over the years and recently came up with a recipe that harkens back to the original, but that is much healthier.


I used about 8 Macoun apples, but if you like things a little tarter you can use Granny Smith (which I often do, as a tribute to my grandma). They cook down significantly, so don't let the minimal batter worry you when you mix them in. The cake cooks up nice and brown, then gets moist as it cools, and even glistens the next day as if it's loaded with oil even though it's not. I made the recipe as two 8x8 square cakes, but you can also do it in a 9x13 pan.


As difficult as it will be, you must resist the temptation to cut into the cake before it has cooled completely. I couldn't wait and ended up with a heaping pile of crumbled cake on my plate (still delicious, nonetheless). When I cut a piece the next day it held together nicely.


It is moist, but with perfect crumb. You will really think you're eating something decadent after the first bite. I hope this becomes a fall favorite in your family!

For more delicious autumnal apple desserts, take a look at my post on how to make Apple Cider Donut Muffins.

Grandma’s Lithuanian Apple Cake (gluten-free vegan version)
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (Red Mill)
1 cup brown rice flour
½ tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 ½ cups Sucanat
3 Tbl ground flax seeds, plus 1/3 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup apple sauce
½ cup apple cider
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups sliced apples (about 6-8)
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, xantham gum, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together Sucanat, flax seed mixture, coconut oil, cider and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Stir in apples and walnuts. Spread batter into oiled 9x13 pan and bake 40-50 minutes (or two 8”x8” pans baked at 25-30 minutes), or until edges are lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Let cook, then top with powdered sugar.


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